Necessities: Finding Your Basics

I’m constantly seeing posts about timeless pieces worth the investment or things that every woman should have in their closet. My younger self would spend so much time and energy searching for the “perfect pair of skinny black jeans” or those “must have, classic pumps”. When I FINALLY found these things, they would sit in my closet unworn for days, weeks, even months. It was then that I came to a conclusion: one fashion editor’s core wardrobe basics may never match my lifestyle or taste.

So, how do you cut the fat and find what pieces you really need? Here’s a few tips to help you define your style and help you develop your own collection of timeless essentials.

PJA Ferry Building ml edit 2

1. Style > Fashion

The first thing you should take into consideration is this: fashion and style are two entirely different entities. Developing your sense of style will always be more important to me than blindly following fashion trends. It took me years to develop mine and I’m constantly fine tuning it here and there. Fashion trends will come and go, but your style embodies more than the clothes you wear or the shoes you own. It’s up to you to decide which trends to adopt and how you want to incorporate them into your personal style.

Jessie At Urbanity-2072

2. The Daily Grind

What you do for a living and your lifestyle should absolutely be taken into consideration when developing your wardrobe necessities. I’m currently working in a boutique and I have at least an hour commute to and from every day. Do you really think I’m going to rock a pair of pointy heels on the bus? I think not.

Finding a more comfortable option that still matched my style was essential. Last year, I took the plunge and invested in a pair of Swedish Hasbeen red clogs and I never looked back. Clogs found a home in my closet and go with everything I already own. They’re super stylish plus my feet aren’t screaming at the end of the day.

Do you travel for work? Do you work from home? Does your work environment call for something a little more sophisticated or is the dress code pretty lax? These factors are key when you’re deciding what to wear!

PJA Mountain Goat Hill-1047


3. Open Your Mind

Fashion can be an intimidating thing, but fear not. Taking a risk on a trend that might be outside your comfort zone can really pay off. Who would have thought that a pair of silver oxfords would be in constant rotation in my day wear? Certainly, not I! If you see a trend you love like metallics, work it into your wardrobe in a way that makes sense for you. Starting small with an accessory is an easy (and affordable) way to convert a fashion item into a timeless piece.


4. One Day You’re In, And The Next…

Sometimes, you grow out of something you love and works perfectly with your wardrobe. That’s A.O.K. Take these booties, for example. I love how they look paired with dresses and jeans, but the comfort factor was just not there. As for the dress, it was much too short, to wear day-to-day and too casual to wear for a night out. I had to let them go and I’m glad I did. Now I can sell them and invest that money into pieces that’ll suit me better! Developing your personal style is all about trial and error.

PJA at the House-2395

5. True Colors

I’m naturally a very colorful person, but when I’m shopping there is always a shade I gravitate towards: blue. If you took a look in my closet, you would see among the brights and pastels a never ending sea of denim and chambray. Like black, navy blue, light blue, and indigo are a great base colors to build a wardrobe around. Start with a neutral shade (be it olive, white, brown, black, or blue like me) and add color pops  and statement pieces like a red shoe, a striped tee, or if you’re daring, a vintage sequin vest. It’s ok to have an abundance of one color if you wear it fairly often.



6. Baby, Hold On To Me!

Find that one piece you wear over and over again? Hold on tight! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve given something up and immediately regretted it. I’m sure you’ve seen this denim jacket in a post or three. It’s my go-to layer when it’s just a tad chilly out. Sure, it has a few holes here and there, but it’s the perfect shade of denim blue and I wear it constantly.

The minute you start to slip and think you can live without that denim jacket, slouchy cardigan, or little black dress, think about the number of times you wear it in a week or month. Better yet, have a fashion show!  Seeing how that item looks in unlikely pairings gives it new life and gives you a little more style inspiration. Have you worn it to death? If even a tailor can’t revive it, hang onto it until you find a perfect replacement.




Sifting the Racks: PJA’s Guide to Resale

My recent return to the boutique world has revived my energy and made me rediscover my first fashion love: consignment and resale.

As movers and shakers in the fashion world, I think it’s extremely important to consider the environmental impact this industry leaves on our world. Shopping resale and consignment is a great way to limit our carbon footprint, but it can be quite draining on those of you who consider secondhand shopping uncharted waters. Allow me to be your guide with a few handy dandy tips and tricks to the world of consignment shopping!

Urbanity Photobooth-1882

Me and the Urbanity Style Sharing ladies hamming it up at a resale event. Come visit us!

1. Game Plan

Before your trip, take an assessment of your closet. What color or color pallet do you find you gravitate to most? What item(s) are you lacking? Write down a list of the things you need to spice up your wardrobe. Be it a pop of color to spruce up your spring wardrobe or the classic trench coat, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with what you can find in your local consignment and resale shops.

2. Patience is a Virtue

Chances are, you’re not going to walk out of the first store you go into with your perfect pair of boyfriend jeans and those stunning Valentino studded heels you’ve been eyeing for years. It takes time, energy, and determination to sift through those racks. Dedicate a full day to consignment and resale shopping and go in with little to no expectations. You never know what you’re going to find!

3. Fule and Re-Fule

It’s important to stay energized during your consignment excursion. Start you day off with a filling, healthy breakfast and bring along some snacks like almonds or dried fruit. No time for breakfast in the morning? NEVER go hungry. Grab a healthy protein shake, a fruit bar, or make one of these yummy smoothies the night before.

4. Keep an Open Mind

I know I said make a list and take your time finding the things you REALLY want, but if you see something that piques your interest, try it on! I’ve lucked out a few times and found some terrific pieces that weren’t even on my immediate radar like a vintage romper or APiece Apart blouse (which I scored for only 2 bucks!). This leads me to my next tip…

5. Try Everything On

Most consignment and resale shops are final sale. Since every brand differs in quality level and sizing, you have to make sure you’re getting the right fit to get the most bang from your buck. It might be tempting to buy that extra small floral skirt because it’s such a steal, but if you can’t wear it right away, it’s not worth it. Trust me: half the stuff you find in consignment shops were at one point hanging in someone’s closet because the owner never had the occasion to wear it or it simply didn’t fit right.

Now you’re ready to scour the racks! Do you have any helpful shopping tips? Share them in the comments!


PJA’s Guide to Getting Through Heartbreak

Yes, I know, that’s one serious title! Thought it was about time for me to address some more serious issues here on PJA.

Image courtesy of drugsandplastic.

This comes in lieu of my own heartbreaking story. Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with the details. What I will say is this: there was someone I loved that greatly disappointed me. Their selfish and harmful actions have forever changed my opinion of them and, while I can forgive, there are some things I will never forget.

Now that we got that out of the way, lets get down to the nitty gritty! The following is a list of tips, a guide if you will, to help you through whatever hard times you find yourself in. Be it a cheating partner, a lost pet, or another momentous change in your life that throws you off your axis.

1. Rally the Troops

This is the time to call on your friends. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since you last spoke; your true friends will always come through with no harsh judgements and without conditions. Right now, you might find your self confidence deflated. Consider these people a reflection of your best self. They want to help and surrounding yourself with people that see you and your best qualities is a perfectly healthy way to boost your ego. When your spirits are lifted, don’t forget to show your gratitude for all the love they give you. Bake them something special or treat the troops to coffee.

2. Cry

Let it out! Listen to old, sad songs, watch sad movies, read old letters, whatever! Everybody’s gotta have a good cry every now and then. Take a day or two to wallow and heal.

3. Move

When you’re all cried out, get out of bed, get into some comfortable gym clothes, and get your butt into gear! I started running and, while I’m not the best runner and I barely clock in a full mile, listening to my workout playlist and pushing myself a little further with each step gives me such a high. Be it a dance class, a marathon, or just a walk around the block; do something that makes your heart beat a little faster everyday.

4. Be kind to yourself

During times of high emotional stress, I throw myself into whatever activity I can to take my mind off of whatever is bothering me. Sometimes, this method can backfire. You can feel drained, overworked, and even more stressed because you’re not taking enough time to take care of you. Recognize that you’re hurting and, while you’re a super star at whatever it is you do, sometimes you’re going to need a little help. Asking for assistance or taking a break isn’t a show of weakness. It’s called taking care of #1.

5. Focus on what really matters

It’s hard not to give your energy to something that completely rocks you. One day, you’re going to wake up and realize you’re wasting valuable time on something (or someone) that isn’t worth a second thought. Refocus that energy into getting to know yourself all over again because that’s time and energy well spent.

6. Count your blessings

When bad things happen, it’s hard to see the great things life has to offer. Take a moment everyday to express gratitude for the things you love in your life to get you prepared for the next phase. I like to write mine down in a little journal. When those sad thoughts creep up on you and the world looks bleak, pull out your list of blessings to remind you of all the beauty in your life.

I hope this simple list provides a little relief and perspective to those of you suffering from heartbreak. Remember: you’re not alone and you deserve so much more!

What piece of heartbreak wisdom would you like to share?

<3, PJA